ERIE OTTERS 101
Learn more about the Ontario Hockey League’s Erie Otters, who will face the Niagara IceDogs at First Niagara Center on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Click here to purchase tickets.
One of three US-based Ontario Hockey League franchises, the Otters have been playing in downtown Erie since moving from Niagara Falls, Ont., in 1996. They have one OHL Championship (2001-02), along with three Midwest Division titles (1999-00, 2000-01, 2001-02). Erie advanced to the 2002 Memorial Cup, and lost 5-4 in OT to Victoriaville in the semifinals.
At 8-0-0-1 (17 pts.), Erie is the only team in the OHL without a regulation loss this season. Their only setback so far was a 4-3 shootout loss in London on Oct. 15. The Otters sit second overall in the OHL, trailing only the Oshawa Generals (9-1-1-0, 19 pts.). In the most recent Canadian Hockey League Top 10 Rankings, the Otters sat fourth overall behind Kelowna, Sault Ste. Marie and Rimouski.
WHO TO WATCH
The Otters are an offensive juggernaut with 49 goals scored in nine games, including seven games of five or more goals. Erie is led by the one-two punch of 2015 Draft eligible-phenoms Connor McDavid (8-17-25) and Dylan Strome (7-16-23), the top two scorers in the Ontario Hockey League who have each collected a point in every game this season. McDavid has recorded eight multi-point games, including three four-point efforts. Dating back to last season, McDavid now has points in 19 of his last 20 games, recording 17 goals and 47 points in the process. Strome also has eight multi-point games to his credit this season, bolstered by four three-point outings.
Other players to watch for on Wednesday:
- Alex DeBrincat, C (2016 Draft eligible) – 11-5-16 in 9 games
- Tyler Dermott, D (2015 Draft eligible) – 0-1-1 in 3 games
- Kyle Pettit, C (6th rd, VAN, 2014) – 2-0-0 in 5 games
- Devin Williams, G (Undrafted) – 6-0-0-1, 2.90 GAA, .909 save% in 8 games
ERIE VS. NIAGARA
The Otters won five of their six meetings against Niagara last season, and outscored the IceDogs 32-12 in the process. McDavid only played in three of the games, but still collected two goals and six assists.
Before capturing the 2014 Lady Byng Trophy with Colorado, Ryan O’Reilly played two seasons in Erie from 2007-09. A second-round pick of the Avs in 2009, O’Reilly scored 118 points (35+83) in 129 games with the Otters … Former Sabre Tim Connolly was a member of the Otters from 1997-99, collecting 130 points (64+66) in 105 games before going fifth overall to the NY Islanders in the 1999 NHL Draft … Another ex-Sabre, Brad Boyes, had four prolific seasons in Erie. A first-round pick of the Maple Leafs in 2000, Boyes led the Otters in scoring for two consecutive years from 1999-2001 … Andre Burakovsky came to Erie in 2013-14 after being drafted 23rd overall by Washington in 2013, and scored 87 points (41+46) in 57 games. The 19-year-old already has five points (2+3) in five games with the Capitals this season.
This is the 19th season of Otters hockey, and they have called the Erie Insurance Arena home since the franchise moved to northwest Pennsylvania in 1996. The facility underwent a $47 million renovation in recent years, and can seat up to 9,000 for hockey. Adult ticket prices for all Otters home games start as low as $16. Check ottershockey.com for ticket and schedule information.